Gypsy Wagons, Flappers and LI Art – these are a few of my favorite things!

Written by museums  |  22. June 2003

Actually, the Gypsy Wagons at the Long Island Museum of American Art History and Carriages in Stony Brook have always been my favorites. I can see myself on the seat of the larger one, Joe at the reins with his Romanesque moustache waving in the breeze, the rhythmic clop of the horses hooves lulling me.... but I digress. The wonderful carriages, sleighs and other horse drawn vehicles are a delight to see and to visit again and again. I enjoyed the replica of the Stony Brook Rail Road Station and my companion was excited to see the schedule that showed the Port Jefferson line as continuing through Rocky Point and on to Wading River. Several elementary school classes were enjoying the museum with us and it was fun to see how they reacted to the carriages and the children's carts and sleds. Other favorites of mine are the Wells Fargo Wagon (bouncing across the western prairie with bandits in hot pursuit - there I go again), the wonderful 'Cinderella like coaches, and other vehicles that evoke Jane Eyre (traveling and shivering and jouncing over the moors). When you bring your imagination to the exhibit, it's not hard to spend some very entertaining hours with these historic conveyances. Grace Darling is another wonderful vehicle, with a very interesting history, and it greets you as you enter the Carriage House. Get your tickets for the complex at the History Museum and check out the current exhibition on Zelda Fitzgerald, a very talented artist and America's most fabulous flapper! The costume collection is wonderful and evokes that flashy, zany era. Imagine yourself in one of those old fashioned bathing suits (which probably weighed a ton when wet) or see yourself dressing your children in any of the darling outfits on display. While in the History Museum, don't miss the ever-popular miniature rooms that are a mainstay of the museum's collections. Cross the road to the Carriage Museum and on your way to the Art Museum to view the current 'Face-to-Face: Two Hundred Years of Figurative Art on Long Island,' enjoy the outbuildings which include a schoolhouse, blacksmith's shop and lovely plantings. The LI Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is a place to return to again and again to enjoy the carriages, the William Sydney Mount paintings and all the other wonderful exhibitions that come and go. The Museum has a number of summer programs for children and a host of special events year-round. You can get more info at (631-751-0066 or at www.longislandmuseum.org. For info about other museums on Long Island, go to www.longisland.com and choose 'Museums,' or go to www.LIMAMuseums.org.

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